Many of our stops in the travel study were to museums, and as you can imagine, museums have tourist oozing out of the doors. Finding our way in and out of the mobs of people, our group finally arrived inside of the British Museum. If you are unfamiliar with this museum, it holds some of the worlds most treasured and sought after artifacts. You can find anything from money from 4000 years ago, to statues made by the Romans.

With my area of focus being race issues, I decide to go into the exhibit they have for Africa. The museum had a whole floor dedicated to Africa’s history, and some African customs. As I am looking around and taking notes, I see a lot of people making their way to the other side of the room, my curiosity kicks in and tells me to follow. What I see is a metal-looking tree sculpture. What’s the big deal? As I read on, I learned that the tree was made out of parts of machine guns. I looked up to it again in amazement because I have never seen a machine gun outside of TV and movies, let alone seeing all the parts.

tree

As I read on, I found out that an organization in Mozambique called Transforming Arms into Tools (TAE) had an idea to help find peace after the civil war. Because they wanted to put the violence behind them, the people of Mozambique decided to bury all the guns under ground. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, the people of TAE wanted to have people dig up some of those guns in exchange for bicycles, sewing machines, and so on. TAE would then take them apart, and make it into the “Tree of Life.” This represented peace, hope, and a new beginning for the people of Mozambique.

I found it to be wonderful that the people of Mozambique took something so dark like the civil war, and turned it into something beautiful. Not only did it make the country safer by eliminating all those hidden weapons, but they found a new meaning of their country through the war.

  —Hannah Moczynski

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